De-stressing before, after exams

By Isabella Daley

The seniors at McNick will take their exams May 16 and 17, and the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors will have exams on May 22, 23, and 24, and students taking AP Exams may begin testing as early as May 7.  End of the year exams typically bring on stress, restlessness, and the insatiable desire for summer to arrive sooner.  While many people advise that students take advantage of every opportunity to study before their exams begin, The Milestone recognizes that some students need to take a break or two or three from their studies in order to stay focused once test day comes. Here are some ways students can de-stress before and after taking their exams.

Before taking exams

Be goofy with your friends.

  • Grab a stack of Post-it notes and write encouraging phrases on them. Stick them on your friends’ lockers, backpacks, or foreheads.  Come up with jokes or find inspirational quotes to stay optimistic while exam day creeps closer.
  • Instead of buying the last cookies from the cafeteria for yourself, buy them for a stressed-out friend to cheer them up. Even better, bake your classmates some cookies to help them stay awake during their review sessions.
  • Go hallway surfing. Slide across the hallways for a good laugh, and race your friends to take your mind off the homework you have to complete soon.  Make sure to only go hallway surfing before or after school hours.  For those who are unfamiliar with hallway surfing, see the videos below.

Take a moment to relax.

  • Squish a stress ball and focus on your breathing. Take a moment to sit and reflect in between subjects when you are studying.  You can find an assortment of colorful stress balls in the Counseling and College Readiness Office.
  • Take a nap. Do not forget to sleep.  Instead of overloading on caffeine, give your brain a break.  Everyone needs sleep, and pulling several all-nighters will not lower your stress levels or improve your grades.
  • Go on a hike or a walk. Breathe in the fresh air and appreciate nature instead of staring at your tablet screen for hours on end.  Give your eyes and yourself a chance to relax.

After taking exams

Expend the energy you did not use while sitting for hours of testing.

  • Run joy laps at the track around the football field. Tie a sweatshirt on like a cape and savor the victory of finishing your exams.  If you did not pass, you cannot change that now, so you might as well celebrate.
  • Play upbeat music and dance. The music that may have been distracting while studying is now an excuse to stand up and dance around.
  • Skip down the hallways. Link arms with friends or random passersby and appreciate the school in which you have spent the past nine months learning.  The hallways are now welcoming places of transition to the approaching summer.

Prepare for the summer.

  • Check out the best summer reads from the library. Ask your friends, teachers, and librarians for suggestions to find the perfect books to bring home for the summer.
  • Make cards or friendship bracelets for your friends and classmates. Do not mourn the fact that you will not get to see them every day, but celebrate that you can meet up to enjoy activities other than studying sessions.
  • Do not forget to say thank you. Thank your parents for putting up with any complaining they heard while you studying, and thank you teachers for preparing you well for the end of the year assessments.


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Putting Post-it notes on your tablet or a friends’ is a way to stay positive and stress less when studying.

Sophomores Donald Noble and Casey Kuhlman struggle to hallway surf.


Senior Isabella Daley demonstrates proper hallways surfing techniques.


Freshmen Katia Roetenberger and Bella Dawson link arms and skip down the hallways after school.


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Freshman Emily Sarge reads a book in the library after school to take a break from school work and enjoy herself.

One thought on “De-stressing before, after exams

  1. I think the author of this article fails to do at least 2 of the things she recommends- getting enough sleep, and thanking her awesome parents. Otherwise, she delivers sound advise and has great form on the hallway surfing.

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